Water Valley wild flowers

Wildflowers in Alberta are a treasure, so when the camera club was invited to photograph these beauties at Back to Nature Retreat, we jumped at the chance. Our morning started out cold and windy on our first stop at Owen’s Slough. We took the back roads north from Cochrane in hopes of seeing some wildlife. We stopped along the ponds just east of Winchell Lake to photograph the birds. An Osprey flew over head on its way to the lake to fish!

Our next stop was to hike through the trails at William J. Bagnall Wilderness Park. The settlement of Skunk Hollow was established here after a fortuitous resource discovery in 1904. On our hike, we found remnants of coal along the banks of the Silver Creek. There were several stair cases to assist in the climb down and then back up to the parking lot. This looked like the perfect place to photograph wildlife, but it seemed that our group was the only breathing (and we were breathing hard due to the incline) creatures. We did see a few butterflies and moths….and it was funny to see a dozen photographers jump at the chance to capture something moving! Several members decided to have a picnic lunch, while others headed over to the Saloon at Water Valley.

After lunch, it was time to head to Back to Nature for our wildflower tour. Stan & Keltie Masters gave us an education walk around their property, pointing on the various flowers and what they were used for. It was a pleasure to spend time enjoying their beautiful acreage and we learned a ton about the flowers in the region. We were also given a tour of their retreat, a Timber King home built by the Pioneer Log homes and yes, the same company that has the TV Show on HGTV! Spectacular!

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